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New Netherlands Becomes New York
Digital History ID 101

Author:   New York


Between 1652 and 1674, the Dutch fought three naval wars with England. The English had hoped to wrest control of shipping and trading from the Dutch but failed. As a result of these conflicts, the Dutch won what is now Surinam from England, while the English received New Netherlands from the Dutch. In 1664, the English sent a fleet to seize New Netherlands, which surrendered without a fight. The English renamed the colony New York, after James, the Duke of York, who had received a charter to the territory from his brother King Charles II. The Dutch briefly recaptured New Netherlands in 1673, but the colony was returned to the English the next year.

Under Dutch rule, New Netherlands had suffered from ethnic tension, political instability, and protracted Indian warfare, which retarded immigration. Similar problems persisted under English administration. One source of tension was the Duke of York's refusal to permit a representative assembly, which was not established until 1683.

Another source of tension was the "patroon" system, which the Dutch West India Company set up in 1629 to promote settlement. Patroons were given huge estates, which they rented to tenant farmers. Patroons had the power to control such aspects of settlers' lives as their right to move, establish businesses, and marry. The Duke of York allowed Dutch landowners to retain these estates, and gave equally large tracts of land to his supporters. By 1703, five families held approximately 1.75 million acres of New York. By 1750, these families had become among colonial America's wealthiest landed elite. Although these landowners lost their feudal privileges as a result of the Revolution, they stilled owned about 1.8 million acres of land in the early nineteenth century. Between 1839 and 1846, tenant farmers on these properties staged "Anti-Rent Wars," demanding title to lands that they felt rightfully belonged to them. In 1846, New York granted the tenants their farms.


We consent that the States General, or the West India Company shall freely enjoy all Farms & Houses (except such as are in the forts) and that within six months they shall have free liberty to transport all such arms and ammunition as not do belong to them, or else they shall be paid for them.

2. All publick Houses shall continue for the uses, which now they are for.

3. All people shall continue free Denizens and enjoy their Lands. Houses, Goods, Ships wherever--they are within this Country, and dispose of them as they please.

4. If any Inhabitants have a mind to remove himself he shall have a year and six weeks from this day to remove himself, wife, children, serv[an]ts, goods...

5. If any officer of State or public Minister of State have a mind to go for England they shall be transported freight free in His Ma[jesty']s frigates when the frigate shall return thither.

6. It is consented to that any people may freely come from the Netherlands and plant in this Country....

7. All Ships from the Netherlands or any other places, and goods therein, shall be received here and sent hence after the manner which formerly they were before our coming hither for six months....

8. The Dutch here shall enjoy their Liberty of their Consciences in Divine worship and Church Discipline.

9. No Dutchman here or Dutch ship here shall upon any occasion be forced to serve in war against any Nation whatsoever.

10. That...Manhattan shall not have any Soldiers quartered among them without being...payd for them, by their officers....

11. The Dutch here shall enjoy their own Customs concerning their Inheritances....

Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute

Additional information: "True copy of articles whereupon...the New Netherlands were surrendered"

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